Friday, September 26, 2014

Coming attractions

By Mac Arnold
ROA photo by Mac Arnold
Practicing out the window in
Monroe County, Mich., has
been helpful. The Beman ICS
Hunter arrows shoot nicely.
ROA Editor

Whoop! Whoop! Hot in the mail Monday was my deer tag for the Shiawassee State Game Area.

This is somewhat a relief in case the camp in Michigan's Thumb gets too packed.

Of course, the state game area can get that way as well but not so much during the middle of the week.

But the same can go for the deer camp too.

Thing is, options are nice to have during the 90-days of insanity, which begins for us "nonyouths" on Oct. 1.

I'd love to drop a nice buck there after the couple follies I've encountered at the peoples' property over the years. Never have scored on that hallowed ground although I've had a opportunity or two to do so.

The properties have a nice mixture of hardwoods, crop lands and canals, which offer great habitat for Mr. Whitetail.

In particular, there is one section of oak flats that I like to go in hopes of reversing the misfortune I had there ... oh, probably a decade ago or so now. When a nice 8-point trotted by but just out of bow range for the recurve.

Then an hour later, a comedy duo of a father and son appeared dragging him practically to the tree I was standing on point in. Suddenly, the dad begs off and says he has to ... take of business, much to the disbelief of the son. So about 10 yards over from me he drops trow and turns the honey hole into a stink hole. After they rolled on past, I had zero debate on whether my hunt was finished. It most certainly was and right at prime-time dusk. I was not amused.

Later in the parking lot, I discovered my favorite $30 Scent-Lok skull cap was nowhere to be found, and I began muttering to myself and carrying on for 10 minutes or so before I noticed the dad from the previous event was sitting in the dark watching the pageant unfold. Why he was still there I haven't a clue but in my embarrassed state, I quickly abandoned all thoughts of finding the hat and hauled butt out of there.

A few years later, I took to another part of the state land across from a cut corn field. There was water behind me. It had all the makings of a good setup.

Sure enough at dusk in came some does, and I had a tag. After having one arrow fall off my bow, I emptied the quiver of the remaining three arrows at one and connected nicely with the dirt with all three. Ended up losing one. It was very embarrassing, if only to myself.

I attributed it to the older, heavier bow and weak shoulder.

Ah, what great memories. Time to make some more.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quick note on youth deer hunt

By Mac Arnold
ROA Editor

As far as youngsters getting into the great outdoors Sept. 20-22 and shooting bucks during Michigan's youth deer hunt, sorry, not for it, not in the least.

Does, sure, have at it.

Just doesn't seem fair for everyone else and there's no tellin' for sure who's pulling the trigger in the blind, Dad, or Johnny Boy.

Learn like we did. Get good on small game and then one day you young kids will get your chance. Or again, like us, wait until the regular seasons -- Oct. 1, Nov. 15 and Dec. 5.

So anybody on Facebook -- one site in particular, which I will leave nameless -- who shows the upcoming youth of the fruited plain holding up a nice rack he or she took during that early season will NOT get a "like" from me or an "atta-boy."

It's funny, the administrator of this nameless site even said to the effect that any negative comments regarding the youth deer season on his pages would not be tolerated and would be removed.

Well, on this site, the word is "phooey" on kids taking bucks during the youth deer hunt.

So there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On the board

By Mac Arnold
ROA photos by Mac Arnold
Sometimes it's all about the shirt.
The lucky shirt was on my back for 
a timely kill in the goose backwaters.

ROA Editor

With the sun easing between the orange-lined clouds and the tops of the reeds, a wispy fog lifted and as predicted with a southwest wind, the honkers came off the pond and right into my lap.

It wasn't the crazy formations of 20 and 30 that had taken off the previous week but three would do.

OK, how about one?

Finally I was able to put enough double BBs into one of those tough buggers on the final day of the early nuisance goose season in Monroe County, Mich.

It headed straight to the ground. But the fun had only begun.

The mark I had locked in my memory banks of where it fell was not as solid as I had thought. After three or four patrols into the marsh without the goose left me soaked and miserable as a wet cat.

All would have been for naught had I a dog ready for prime time. (Augie the black Lab is still months away from making a difference.)

But walking circles through smelly muck was well worth it.
I can't ever recall tracking as
long as I did for a goose or
any other game animal that
was so close to my setup.

Piles of geese are often commonplace this time of year on some of my friends' pages and other sites on Facebook since the daily limit is five per person.

A couple of these friends live the glory and actually are goose guides.

As for this country boy, who basically walks out the back door to the pond, I'm still using the same OLT goose call and G&H shell decoys that I bought in the 1990s. So any in the game bag is greatly appreciated.

However, this could change with the sweet setup I have going on ... at least while it lasts until the eventual progress takes over. And on the sooner horizon, when deer season begins and conflicts priorities.

The regular waterfowl season, which includes a quickie three-day rehearsal on geese Sept. 20-22, kicks off Oct. 11 and runs until Dec. 7, so I'm sure this story won't end here. Hopefully it will include a few ducks as well.

At least the dreaded goose egg, so to speak, has been removed, and I'm finally on the board.

Yep, one will do, for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frustration mounts

By Mac Arnold
ROA Editor

Guess I'll be happy to jump onto other game animals for awhile.

Geese seem indestructible. No, they are indestructible.

It is a rarity indeed when I drop one. A few more missed shots Wednesday, Sept. 10, again have frustrated me.

At least I set up on the right part of the property, unfortunately I'm not in the field they want to be in. This field is in between the golf course and the school field, which is where they do want to be. There are plenty of opportunities for passing shots -- like today for instance.

After lighting up their tail feathers Wednesday, it is time for a break until the last day of the early nuisance season, which is Monday, Sept. 15.

Goose comes back in briefly Sept. 20-22 and then the regular waterfowl season opens with ducks also coming in the fold Oct. 11. This should be good. Had quite a few ducks cruise past the pond.

One thing in my favor is I am a determined hunter and often don't stop until success is realized.

In the meanwhile, there will be a bass fishing gig in the canoe with my honey hopefully today (Sept. 11) depending on how the deluge from the last evening affected the water levels and clarity, which it definitely has I'm sure.

But it's something we've been waiting to do together for a long time so I'm sure we'll go anyway.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wait and see

By Mac Arnold
ROA Editor

After some thought -- although Stacie would say much thought -- way too much, I believe I may have figured out why the geese around the pond live on.

It comes down to the choke tube and shot size.

I remembered on the honkers I've dropped here and there over the years, that I used BB steel shot with a modified choke.

Why this slipped from my mind I don't know but the modified choke is in and new ammo in the pack for the next gig, which I hope will be this morning.

In fact, it's these BlackCloud rounds that seem to have been the rage of late, at least from the reports on the Web.

"Good stuff," the oldtimer Tim told me from behind the Cabela's counter in Dundee, Mich. He emphasized what it said on the box that the simpler chokes, basically non-ported ones, produce the best results.

The misses haven't been like some crazy amount, only four so far, but it likely would be a lot more if the setup remained the same with the super tight choke and No. 2s. I've read where some guys say No. 2s drop them all day long from here to the Pacific flyway. But around this Midwest pothole, they've been shaking off those pellets like a hard rain and saying, "Hey, hoss, that the best you got?"

Anyway, I got proactive.

Let's find out what happens.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

'Goosed' so far for 2014

ROA photos by Mac Arnold
Well, maybe I can't knock down any Canada geese but at
least I look the part. But there is plenty of season left.
By Mac Arnold
ROA Editor

This season more than ever has "goosed" me.

Probably because the access to the spot in Monroe County, Mich., is ... well ... effortless or so I thought.

For the most part I've been outsmarted the four days I've been on point. I missed two shots Thursday, Sept. 4, and two more Friday, Sept. 5.

But the craziest part happened after Thursday's hunt. Led by a tip from my "scout" in an upstairs window, I was basically told don't look now but there was a blue boy parked a few yards over from where I was, "and they have dogs!" She even texted the photo of it to me for proof. Bigger than you know what, there they were.


I remembered one of my dearest friends when we were mere second-graders jumping up and down on desks while being chased around the classroom by our elderly teacher, shouting, "What did I do? What did I do?" This is exactly how I felt but you know what? I didn't feel like finding out by having a couple of state troopers slip silently in on me with guns drawn, so with it being 9:30 a.m. anyway and the stifling heat of late summer coming on, I packed it in.

It was irritating no less because of all the precautionary work I did to get written permission, making sure I had legal distances from houses and obviously the proper hunting tags. But away I skulked much like a buck who has been pushed from his territory.

Later, after a closer look from the crow's nest myself, it appeared the troopers were actually conducting dog training.

This is a total "It happened to me story." No way could I make this up.

Anyway I decided to zoom over on the 4-wheeler (another excuse to use the quad, oh yeah) and just find out for myself.

Sure enough, after talking with the state boys, that's exactly what they were doing: dog training. The goon-sized one even asked, "Did you get anything?" Sadly, I had to confess no.

But the best part of the ordeal was I could talk over the distances from the houses (have to be 450 feet away) because the hunting area does have another nearby subdivision. And I was told, "Nope, you're good but we'll probably get calls anyway."

Stay tuned.

Despite midday heat, I was
still able to land a nice bass.